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Government Affairs Update
February 20, 2007, Volume 53, No. 23

On February 7, Governor Edward Rendell released his proposed FY 2007-08 budget for the Commonwealth. The Governor is proposing a total of $49,651,000 in the University’s direct appropriation, an increase of $222,000, or 0.5 percent, over the amount the University is receiving in the current fiscal year (see chart below).  All five line items funded through the Dept. of Education were increased by 0.5 percent–Veterinary Activities ($39,450,000);  Center for Infectious Disease at the Vet School ($3,216,000); Medical School ($4,057,000); Cardiovascular Studies ($1,609,000); and Dental Clinics ($1,088,000).  It is particularly noteworthy that the Governor chose to include continued funding for the Center for Infectious Disease, a new line item added by the General Assembly last year. Historically, Governors have followed the practice of removing in their proposed budget all items added by the Legislature, thereby forcing the Legislature to negotiate them back in the final budget. The Governor did follow this practice with respect to funding for the Penn Museum, which was reduced from the current year level of $254,000 to a recommended $231,000 (the level originally recommended by the Governor in last year’s budget).

The Governor also called again on the General Assembly to approve his proposed Jonas Salk Legacy Fund, which will be reintroduced as new legislation in the very near future. This proposal calls for the securitization of half of the Tobacco Settlement research funding, which would then be used to provide accelerated funding to support biosciences research infrastructure.  Penn currently receives between $9 and $11 million annually in formula health research funds under the Tobacco Settlement.

Finally, the budget provides some additional detail regarding the Governor’s new health care reform initiative entitled “Prescription for Pennsylvania.” The goals of this proposal, released by the Governor several weeks ago, are to expand access to affordable health care coverage, to improve the quality of health care and to reduce health care costs (Almanac January 23, 2007).   As part of this proposal, the Governor is recommending the reduction of certain payment programs (Community Access Fund and Tobacco Settlement Uncompensated Care funding) that provide supplemental funding to hospitals with high volumes of charitable care. The Governor believes that the need for these payments will be reduced as more people become insured under his new program.

The release of the Governor’s proposed budget begins the budget process, with the General Assembly now starting budget hearings.  Penn is scheduled to testify before the House Appropriations Committee on February 26.  Following budget hearings the Legislative leadership and the Governor will begin the process of negotiating a final budget.

Vanda McMurtry,
Vice President for Government and Community Affairs

University of Pennsylvania Non-Preferred Appropriation
(in thousands of dollars)

 

FY 2003

FY 2004

FY 2005

FY 2006

FY 2007

FY 2007

FY 2008

FY 2008

 

Actual

Actual

Actual

Actual

HB2509

(% Inc.)

Gov. Rec.

(% Inc.)

Medical Instruction

 3,953

 3,832

 3,861

 3,919

4,037

 3.0

4,057

0.5

Dental Clinics

 873

 846

 1,035

 1,051

1,083

 3.0

1,088

0.5

Cardiovascular Studies

 1,568

 1,520

 1,531

 1,554

1,601

 3.0

1,609

0.5

Veterinary School

 37,676

 36,523

 37,364

 38,111

39,254

 3.0

39,450

0.5

Center for Infectious Disease (Vet)

 -

 -  

 -  

 -  

3,200

 100.0

3,216

0.5

Penn Museum*

 231

 225

 231

 231

254

 10.0

231

-9.1

Total University

 44,301

 42,946

 44,022

 44,866

49,429

10.2

49,651

0.5

* Penn Museum budget request submitted through separate submission to Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC).

Almanac - February 20, 2007, Volume 53, No. 23